05/11/06 — Mudcats fall to Jacksonville

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Mudcats fall to Jacksonville

Published in Sports on May 11, 2006 2:07 PM

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A shortage of offense cost Carolina starter Paul Mildren during one of his best career starts, as the Mudcats fell to Jacksonville 1-0 at the Baseball Grounds on Wednesday afternoon.

Mildren (2-2) yielded just three hits and fanned a career-high nine hitters, but took his second-straight loss when Andy LaRoche doubled home Tony Abreu with two outs in the fourth for the game's only run.

Mildren faced the minimum through three innings before Abreu doubled inside third base, but Mildren retired the next two hitters before LaRoched bounced a double by the third base bag on an 0-1 pitch.

Carolina (14-20), which fell 10 games behind first-place Chattanooga in the North, managed just five hits against three Suns pitchers.

The Mudcats' best scoring chance came in the top of the fourth when Jose Campusano reached on an infield single, stole second and took third on a bunt single by Edgar Gonzalez. Spot starter Alivs Ojeda (2-0) induced a short popfly to right by Ryan Bear, a foul popout from Lee Mitchell, then fanned Jonathan Aceves to end the inning.

The Mudcats managed one more true chance in the sixth against second-time Double-A reliever Steven Johnson.

Johnson, only 18 years old and called up from extended spring training a few days earlier, allowed a one-out single from Gonzalez, then compounded the inning by hitting Bear. Mitchell dropped a blooper into short centerfield, but the onrush of centerfielder Matt Kemp caused Gonzalez to remain close to second base as Kemp swept up the short-hop. Kemp initially threw to second base, but after no out was made there, Tony Abreu threw to third base to force out Gonzalez. Aceves flew out to end the inning.

The 1-0 loss came after after three blowout contests in the series, the last two claimed by the Suns.

Of Carolina's five hits, only two left the infield, an eighth inning double by Ryan Bear and Gonzalez's single to right in the sixth. Jacksonville left fielder robbed Alejandro DeAza of a pair of hits, diving forward to catch his sinking liner in the first, then diving into the left field line to take away a double in the fifth. As a result, DeAza's team-best eight-game hitting streak ended by going 0-for-4.

Carolina trails the series 3-1, which will end tonight at the Baseball Grounds with Manny Olivera (0-0, 1.80) making a fill-in start against Jacksonville's Spike Lundberg (4-1, 2.48) at 7:05 p.m.